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Husker Fan last won the day on February 3 2012

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  1. Hank: I used a variation of one of your suggestions tonight in a tunnel. Ball on the ground, kid starting a few steps away (tunnel narrow so not much room) runs to the ball, barehanded pickup and throw down to a kid at the other end of the tunnel andwho then throws it back. Had a coach run down and back and the kids had to beat him with the throw down and back. Beat the coach and its an out, don't and its a run. Kids loved it. I can see how these type of drills can really help on the fielding. Can't wait for the snow to melt and temps to warm up and get outside. Thanks
  2. I have used a soccer/volley ball sitting on the tee (use a plunger through the tee to hold the ball). The bigger ball makes them swing harder and I work on making sure they follow through and don't stop the swing on contact. Can make it competetive and see who hits the ball farthest to help them swing hard and follow through.
  3. Getting ready for another season of baseball and was wondering what drills other coaches use that the kids really enjoy. A couple I use are provided below. These all have some competition in them and the kids have always really enjoyed them. Football - I'll have one or two players line up as recievers and each will have a defensive player covering them. They will run pass patterns and I'll throw them the ball to score a TD. The defensive player tries to intercept. No Name for the Drill - typically used this one as part of pre-game warm ups and during practice. After the players do warm up throwing in two lines we will start the ball on one side and on the coaches call, the players throw to their "teammate on the other line and then on coaches call the player throws back. If anyone drops the ball, that team sits down. After the first round, the coach moves one line back to increase the distance and repeats. we do this until their is a winner. Sometimes we start with an underhand throws to reinforce that. After each game, we rotate the players in one line down a person so we keep mixing up the teams. We also add in a coaches team to have the kids compete against them. Relay Races - A number or relay races that we typically do at the end of practice or to work off some excess energy. One is to set half the team at 2nd and the other half at home and have them try to catch the other team. We also do other relay races where they have to run down to a glove and either put the ball in the glove or retrieve the one left by player that was in front of them. Also have them run down and tag a coach or circle him. Whatever the race, they will pass a helmet, a ball, or tag the next player before he can start. We also mix it up by having them run backwards, put the helmet on backwards, having to wear a glove and pass the ball while wearing the helmet backwards, etc.
  4. Coach: With respect to assigning positions. I have always played 5 on 5 and my playbook is developed so that I don’t assign a position per se, I assign each player a color. Although each color is associated with a predominant position (e.g., black is QB, Red is running back), they can change the position they line up at based on the play we are running and who is designed to get the ball. They will play that color at practices and the game that week. The kids pick it up very quickly and since the offensive is designed to get the ball to every color several different ways, they all have fun and get their touches. Parents have also been very supportive of this since all of the kids get the opportunity to run the ball and get their touches during games. I may change the color that a player will play between weeks but not during games or practices. I make it very clear that the only one that talks in the huddle is a coach and as a standard rule that when a coach is talking that the players listen and don’t talk unless asked a question. If they do talk, ask to play a position, etc., I immediately let them know that it is not acceptable and that they will not get the ball if they continue. I also have an attention grabber if needed anytime during practice where I yell “ballgame” and they all need to yell “focus” loudly. This will stop talking and get them refocused. You need to make sure that they understand that you are in charge and not them. That doesn’t mean that you need to yell etc., just be firm and set the correct expectations and let them know if they are not meeting those expectations. Also with respect to the huddles, in practice I expect the yellow position (center) to “call” the huddle and the players to get lined up correctly. I won’t enter the huddle to call the play until they are basically set to go and settled down (quiet). Obviously, you need to show them what to do and the first few times I give them more leeway than after several practices. I am currently coaching 1st graders and we can get in and out of the huddle very quickly now. Could be several issues related to lining up and executing plays correctly but it all starts with focus in the huddle. How do you call your plays and let the players know what they are supposed to do? If you are expecting a kid to run an out, slant, reverse, etc. have they practiced those prior to running plays? If you look at the playbooks on this site, most are color coordinated and have the routes or assignments on them for each player. Having each kid assigned a color throughout the game/practice allows them to figure out where to set up and what to do. Not always perfect particularly with younger kids but works well. Also need to emphasize that everyone has a job each play. If you are calling plays differently, do the players know the terminology and is at the level/age they are at? Have Fun! Husker Fan
  5. Here is the playbook for our Kindergarten team this spring. Very successful season with lots of scores on misdirection. We didn't throw many passes as they are not required in our league at this age but did have touchdown pass on the blue curl pass. This was wide open every time we ran it, but the kids can't pass-catch very well at this age. Only ran the crosses a couple times during the season. Most teams we played basically had the QB turn and hand the ball off to the running back. Looking forward to the fall season. Husker Fan 5 on 5 Kindergarten April 2010.doc
  6. Coach: That is common particulary in kids that haven't faced kid pitching before. I incorporate kid pitching against the batters in practices and in the cages to get them used to seeing this as much as possible. For example, in the cages, if we have two sides, we typically would have a coach throw BP on one side and a kid throwing BP on the other (there is a coach in the cage with him) and have batters hit from both cages. In practices outside the cage, we would have a batting station and incorporate a kid pitching. For example, have the kid throw 3 or 4 pitches and then the coach steps in to throw several pitches. Also, are you teaching bunting? At this age my teams were taught to bunt and this makes them turn and face the pitch which may help. Also, you didn't mention it but are the kids bailing out of the box or just not swinging? If it is not swinging, during BP with kid pitching start them out at 1 strike and they only get 3 or the next kid rotates in. Incentive to makes them swing. Even a swing at a bad ball is a start. When we work with pitchers, one of the drills we use to get the pitchers used to batters is to have a kid stand at the plate but not swing or swing without a bat. This also helps the batters as they are seeing the ball and we have them call out if the pitch was a ball or a strike. Good Luck Husker Fan
  7. For my 3rd-4th grade teams, prior to the Fall season we practiced twice a week for 1.5 hours each. During the season we practiced once a week for 1.5 hours. Took a more relaxed approach than the more hectic April-July baseball game and practice schedule. For the Kindergarten team, currently practicing once a week for 1.5 hours but will soon go to practicing immediately prior to our games because most of kids are also playing baseball or soccer and numerous practice and game conflicts. Husker Fan
  8. My kindergarten team (5-6 year old) played their first game Saturday and I think we scored every time we had the ball. On one play while we were on defense, we turned the ball carrier around at the line and he was running towards his end zone. One of the kids on my team was running and standing with him and kept trying to point and get him running in the right direction. Had to explain to him that that was nice but he should just pull the flag On another play, one of their players retreated probably 20 yards before we got him. We practice running downfield and not backwards to minimize this from happening at the early ages. Husker Fan
  9. Don't know of any site that has good examples for all the situations that are out there. Most I have run across are very generic. Practice plans should be developed based on the player's age and abilities, number of practices you will have, practice duration, type of drills you like, and what you are trying to accomplish. For example, the plan for the first practice for my 6 year old coach pitch team would be much different than the practice plan for a late season practice on my 11-year old's team. May want to update what age group and skill level (e.g., select, recreational) you are working with and the level of detail you want in a practice plan and see what other coaches may have. Have fun
  10. I tweek my playbooks all year as I see what is working and what is not, in additional to pre-season changes. Your wife is not alone in thnking something is wrong with their husband! Have Fun Husker Fan
  11. I do essentially the same as Coach Rob. For all sports that I coach, I give out a parents letter that describes my coaching philosphy, gives a brief description of my background, expectations, and some other pertinent information about the team and league. I also give out team specific rules and how I will apply discipline if needed. Other material provided is a team roster with contact info (sounds smple but you would be suprised how many coaches don't do this), practice schedule, game schedule, league rules, practice and game uniform requirements, and other misc items (e.g., name on equipment, bring a water bottle, no food, etc.). After I have jersey numbers, I will hand out a business card to parents with player names and numbers (and parent names if enough room). This last football season, I also provided an example play and explained how we would call plays and how the kids would play on offense and defense. I also provided a handout on how to give/take a correct handout, hold the ball when running, etc. in the event a parent would practice at home with the kids. During baseball season, I did something similar on proper fundementals for catching, pitching, fielding grounders, etc. Finally, I give out a couple quotes I found in books that emphasise that this is kids sports and parents should treat it as such. I absolutely agree with Coach Rob to be clear on expactations and communications with the parents. Some of my most frustating experiences as a parent have been when the coaches didn't communicate with me. Husker Fan
  12. CRob: Nice game. However, in Nebraska, coaches can't wear coats unless the temp drops below zero We had one game snowed out this year and my 6 year was mad at the league all morning for cancelling. We could have used a little more of that heat that Texas_D is hording down there. Hope all are having fun! Starting to work on the 1st-2nd Grade playbook for next year. Husker Fan
  13. 1. Yes, receivers can advance the ball. The play you were looking at was a touchdown thrown into the endzone. 2. Interesting question and an issue that has never been brought up in our league or addressed in our rule book. So, by default, it is allowed.
  14. I posted some video clips from our 3rd-4th grade team from 2008 and the kindergarten team this year. So far the kindergarten team has played very well and is unbeaten. Do a search on "Huskersinthehouse" for the video clips. Good luck to all. Husker Fan
  15. Coach: You have a very challenging job! I have coached older kids in flag football but I am currently coaching my youngest in a kindergarten only flag football league through the YMCA. There can be a big difference in ability between kindergartners and 2nd graders. In my experience, kindergarteners will have a difficult time catching a soft underhand toss from a coach and can't throw a ball with much consistency or control. 2nd graders are faster, more coordinated, can run pass routes, catch a ball, and can generally throw the ball much better. You need to consider this as you structure your practices and game plans. For our team, the first couple practices consisted of teaching the basics of how to hike the ball, QB recieve the ball from under center, QB handoffs, and teaching the ball carrier how to recieve the ball, and how to carry the ball. Worked through progressions on this begining with coaches each with a couple players on recieving hand-offs, then added a kid QB, then a QB-center exhange, then center-QB-back, etc. Worked both dive type hand-offs and reverses. Also work on a lot of flag pulling drills. The kids enjoy and want to do the shark and minnows drill over and over again (we call it raptor in the ring). We have the "minnows" carry a ball to reinforce ball carrying skills. This is a great drill for teaching them to pull flags and be aggressive on defence. They also like to do the gauntlet. This is another great flag pulling drill and also a good drill for ball carriers. We also do an angle flag pulling drill, which is a good drill but more difficult for the kids to understand. They enjoy all of these drills and could do them all practice if we let them. During our first two games, our players were attacking and swarming the offense where other teams were standing flat footed on defense. (We were in the backfield many times before the handoff was made, which is against the rules since we are not supposed to cross the LOS until a hand-off is made. We are working to correct that by playing them deeper to start, but don't want them to lose that aggressiveness). Typical practice starts with a group jog around the field to reinforce what is inbounds and out of bounds and having them respond to question. For example, when running down the sideline or into the endzone I will ask them what it is called. We then get into a circle and do some simple stretching drills (e.g., arm circles, toe toaches, one leg hamstrings), jumping jcks, etc. Not really concerned with strecthing at this age but good to get them in the habit and the one leg ham stretch works on balance skills. We also do a "hike" drill where we have one of the kids call out a cadence (down, set, hike) and on "hike" all the kids clap. Trying to get them all used to the cadence, listen to the cadence and begin moving on "hike." Typically also do some type of running drill. One they seem to enjoy is a 1 vs 1 race down and then backpedal back (working on running hard and learning to run backwards). Tried the 4 corner agility drill last practice with backpedal, shuffle, sprint shuffle. (Needs some work ) Anyway, try to mix things up to expose them to differnt drills and skills. From here we move the handoffs drills, flag pulling drills, running plays, and scrimmaging. Try to end with a relay race or run of some type, which they like. The last practice or two we spent a little time teaching them how to pass and how to catch a ball also. My practices are 1.5 hours long and there we try to keep the kids engaged the entire time as they are easily distracted at this age. If they start becoming disengaged, which they have after running through a few plays, I will stop that and go to a flag pulling drill. During my older son's tackle practices, a k-2nd flag league has been holding a clinic at the field the last couple weeks. They have been doing the same basic drills that I have done with the kindergarteners as noted above. The biggest difference I noticed was that they were doing a lot more passing and running a lot of pass plays with the older kids. The kindergarteners looked to be off in another area working on hand-offs while the older kids were passing. I also saw them try karaoke one day. Older kids could do it okay, young ones not so much. I have worked with my kindergartner on this outside practice but would not try it during a practice. Note that I do this drill with older kids in all sports I coach. A key is to be organized and know what you want to do at each practice. Your practice may not go exactly according to plan, mine typically don't, but you have good idea of what you are trying to teach and accomplish. Good Luck! Husker